Disabled and non-disabled artists perform Rainbow Voices. ©

British Council Nepal

To encourage theatre artists, disabled people and organisations working in disability and further pursuing work in the arts, an open call for proposal were announced. Out of nine entries, four were awarded micro-grants to initiate work in the theatre arts with the direct involvement of disabled people.

Birds of Paradise, during the workshop, helped the participants to structure their project ideas after which the proposals were reviewed by the theatre company and the British Council.

Outputs of the projects are in plans to be performed/shown later this year. The outputs will be in the form of two play productions, four focus groups and workshops and two video podcast episodes.

Grant Projects:

Theatre Production by National Deaf Federation Nepal
KP Adhikari, the President of the National Deaf Federation Nepal, participated in the workshop and proposed to produce a play involving theatre professionals and deaf people. The first draft of the script—written by Nar Bahadur BC—has been completed and the team is now looking to finalise the cast. NFDN will also be doing a workshop with its cast on acting and the basics of theatre production. For this, they are collaborating with Sudam CK of Katha Ghera Theatre, a fellow grantee.

Synopsis of the play: A deaf girl is born in a village. Her family consults a shaman to “cure” the child of this ailment. A young deaf person who is an educator travels to the village with the aim of establishing a school for the deaf when he encounters the girl’s family.

Utar Chadav Video Podcast – Disability and Mental Health
Workshop participant Raji Manjari Pokharel is a mental health counselor. She is working with deaf people to produce two special episodes of the mental health podcast Utar Chadav which will talk about disability and mental health issues.

The first episode will engage deaf people from NFDN and will deal with issues of depression, anxiety and addiction. The podcast will be a video where there will be sign language interpretation. The recording of the episode is scheduled to be held in July.

Playback Theatre and Basic Acting Workshop
Sudam CK is affiliated with women-led theatre company Katha Ghera, whose portfolio includes productions like Vagina Monologues, Private is Political and Paanch. Katha Ghera is the only theatre group in Nepal who employ playback theatre as a form of performance.

As part of the grant project, Sudam is working with his team to organise two playback theatre performances for disabled people. The first performance was being held in Spinalcord Rehabilitation Centre on 16 June. The second playback show is being planned at the Children and Disability Hospital where the group will be working with children. CK is also organising a week-long basic theatre workshop for disabled people. For this, he will be working with deaf participants from NFDN. This will be a collaboration between grantees CK and Adhikari. CK hopes to produce a short skit from the basic theatre workshop.

Sundari Mishra
Sundari Mishra of Creative Little Women Society, from her project, is bringing together people who have different disabilities to produce a series of monologues that will be performed on stage. She is working with a group of at least 6 people who are visually impaired, little, paraplegic and deaf. The monologues that will be performed will be based on real-life stories of members of the group, which has been shared during a two-week workshop that has already been completed. Rehearsal for the performance is scheduled to begin in July.

Theatre artists Praladh Kharel and Loonibha Tuladhar (who is a British Council past beneficiary) have been facilitating workshops for the group. Sundari Mishra is planning to organise a ticketed show later this year of the performance, as the raised funds utilizing by her organisation to build a house for little people.

Deaf teachers in conversation during an Utar Chadav focus group meeting. 
Katha Ghera perform a playback session at the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre.  ©

Katha Ghera

From right: Blind artists Rampramod Sah and Indira Rai perform during Rainbow Voices.